Abu Dhabi: Women involved in severe accidents may sometimes react strongly, prompting officers to send them home and delay the investigation to a later date, the Ministry of Interior revealed.

Therefore, an initiative launched by Abu Dhabi Police to help female drivers cope with the psychological trauma of causing and even being a victim of traffic accidents was launched last month.

As of August 1, a team of eight female police officers belonging to a special division at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate at the ministry, have begun to investigate accidents involving women. This programme was set up in order to “inspire confidence and a sense of security to the women involved in the crash in order to create the appropriate environment to take their statement,” an earlier statement released by the ministry said.

“[Female police officers] are dispatched to the accident site as soon as notification is received by the operations room, where they take the initial statement before conducting an extensive investigation at the office,” the ministry said in an earlier statement. Officials say that the officers are sent to the scene based on the incident’s severity and the number of injuries involved.

The female police team has handled 69 incidents since the beginning of the year until July 30, across the island of Abu Dhabi. However, only 39 out of 229 accidents during the same period and 78 out of 509 incidents last year were caused by women.

However, reactions to this programme from male and female drivers living in the capital have been mixed.

Civil engineer Simsem A. said that by discriminating in the treatment of men and women at the scene of an accident, women may seem more vulnerable than they really are. “I think that female police officers should only be sent to the scene of severe accidents to comfort women because, yes, some female drivers would not accept a strange man holding them and making them feel more at ease. However, by giving women too much attention and being extra careful around them, we are only making ourselves seem more vulnerable and foolish than we really are,” she said.

“People get into accidents all the time. Yes, some crashes are bigger than others but I think everyone deserves to be comforted, whether male or female. Plus, in preserving individual’s privacy, I believe that the names of those involved will be in the police report anyway and people’s names should be kept private regardless of their gender,” the 24-year-old added.

Similarly, an American female expat working in communications who declined to be named, explained that she found it offensive that women police officers must be sent to the scene of an accident involving a female driver.

“I think that women are on equal standing in terms of driving and being independently thinking individuals. It is understandable on some level that some might find it more comforting to have someone of authority from the same gender be present at the scene of an accident but in general I don’t see the need to take these extra precautions,” the 23-year-old said.

“I had a friend who was T-boned [crashing into the side of a car] by a man while she was driving at night and, in an attempt to intimidate her into not saying that she had not caused the incident, he brought to the crash site many other male friends. Thankfully, being the person she is, she did not succumb to the implicit tactics of the other man. But even in this case if a female police officer arrived, I think it would be indulging what the man was doing and buying into it,” she added.

On the other hand, Ahmad Zendaqi, a Syrian driver and social media and marketing coordinator, said that he finds that sending police officers to help women in distress is a valid course of action but only in certain situations.

“There are cases where men are incapable of understanding or diffusing the shock of women during accidents, and those are the only times I think that dispatching a female police officer to help women cope would be necessary. However, I find that most times it can be uncalled for because I think that a lot of female drivers are very capable and are able to handle themselves very well in difficult situations,” he said.

The ministry also revealed that the number of accidents involving women is increasing while the number of men causing incidents on the road at night is higher than those caused by their female counterparts.